A colleague describes an oncology nurse who goes above and beyond as both a dedicated nurse to her patients’ care and an advocate in the field of metastatic breast cancer.
It is a privilege to nominate oncology nurse Marta Vallee Cobham, B.S.N., RN, for a CURE® Metastatic Breast Cancer Heroes™ award. She has worked at New York-Presbyterian Hospital and Weill Cornell Medicine for over three decades. Starting in the field when the term “research nurse” was still very new, Marta recognized early on the importance and need for clinical research in order to eventually cure metastatic breast cancer.
Marta’s passion for clinical research manifests itself in the way she explains the value of research participation. Marta has a unique ability to convey information in a way that breaks down complex protocols and makes people feel reassured.
Personally counseling and consenting thousands of patients with breast cancer to participate in clinical trials, Marta is a true partner in their care. Patients know that despite any ups and downs of their disease trajectory, Marta is steadfast in her commitment to remaining by their side.
Marta learned firsthand the impact of metastatic breast cancer when she guided her own sister, Ilka, who received a diagnosis at age 35, through a five-year journey with the disease. Ilka repeatedly told Marta that there was “not enough research to help people with metastatic breast cancer and not enough research on people who ‘look like me.’” Marta channels this experience each and every day to improve the lives of others who are navigating the path of metastatic breast cancer.
Marta’s commitment to health education and increasing awareness about the importance of clinical trials, evidence-based research, disparities and advances in breast cancer care extend beyond the exam room and across borders. Marta is a highly sought-after speaker, actively involved with volunteer activities throughout New York City as well as in her native Panama.
As recently as May 2021, Marta was selected to present at a New York City Council town hall meeting on disparities in health care access and breast cancer care in Brooklyn. Marta also speaks annually at the National Panamanian Friendship Reunion on breast cancer and advances in cancer research. A trusted leader, Marta’s gift is her ability to make information accessible to people of all backgrounds and from all walks of life.
Marta personifies the very best of the metastatic breast cancer research profession. She takes care of individual patients as if they were her own family, while simultaneously promoting the importance of clinical trials. Marta is truly a gifted voice and passionate advocate for metastatic breast cancer research.
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